An English mother searches for her student son, missing in Paris--in a first novel that starts out okay but turns silly and melodramatic. Imogen Holm, alarmed by the absence of news from son Thomas, has arrived in Paris to track him down. Twenty-one-year-old Thomas has been a music student at the Conservatoire for the past two years; his future success is, for Imogen, ``the cornerstone of her faith in life''--the means by which she will redeem her own failure as an artist. This strong-willed woman has invested everything in her son by a failed first marriage, finding a rich second husband to bankroll his education while overlooking such distress signals as Thomas's suicide attempt at his private school. This is a plausible family portrait, and neat foreshadowing in view of the final plot twist; and Imogen's first encounters in Paris, with a childhood friend of Thomas's and an embittered ex-girlfriend, are good low-key suspense. It is when the trail leads to the city's gay subculture that Corrigan loses his touch, giving us a male prostitute who is a walking clichÇ and then overreaching ludicrously with Paul Delamarche--not only ``the greatest pianist in France'' but also ``the artistic conscience of his generation.'' Evidently the too beautiful Thomas had been dabbling in gay life, and his rejection of Paul has driven the great man to suicide. The bad news for Imogen is that her son has become a heartless flirt, as manipulative as his mother. Corrigan has yet to find his sea legs as a novelist, but he does have one great asset: the ability to keep a story moving.